Best sauce or paste tomato?

Hi all,

I feel that Im already a little late to the game but was wondering if anyone has any spectacular varieties of paste or sauce tomato that they might recommend? My family really enjoys canning so I thought that this year for a change we could do a big sauce making party (obviously just for our family unit of 4…booo covid :frowning: )

I am going to be trying to grow tomatoes on grafted tomato rootstock due to a nematode infestation so that will be a first as well…yikes…a lot of firsts.

Please, any suggestions you can offer would be great. So far all I have is amish paste and granadero. I am looking for Italian heirloom varieties for making Italian style tomato sauce (either the elongated style or heart shaped tomatoes).

I will gladly pay for any shipping and handling if you can spare any seeds. Suggestions on where to find such seeds would be great as well.

Thanks everyone, hope you are happy and healthy.




Drew51 does!

@Drew51 lets hear your paste stories! well…to be precise…paste tomato successes!


I am new to the board here… but a long time tomato grower.

I have grown Amish Paste and Roma in the past and they were both good tomatoes… although I did not make paste out of them - just ate them fresh and canned some for over winter use.

I preferred the Amish Past for fresh eating… and they both made some very good roasted tomato basil soup.

I few years back I found a guy on youtube — mhpgardner — and now his wife – imstillworking
You can find their youtube channels using those names.

They grow lots of paste tomatoes and perfer a variety called “super Italian paste”.

I have never grown those myself, but they really brag on them.

When I found his youtube channel, I was searching for a better beefsteak tomato to grow as my main crop, canning tomato, and found my way to the Big Beef tomato then. It is a Hybrid, and it is BIG and BEEFY, and produces like crazy. I have been growing them for 4-5 years now as my main crop tomato and love them.

I have stored them cut up and frozen in pint and quart jars and water bath canned and found them to store well and make some very good chili and soups when used.

Good Luck on finding that ideal paste tomato !


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Hoss Tools sells 2 hybrid paste tomatoes with good disease resistance. I am growing the variety Invincible that has good disease resistance but not for nematodes. They sell another one called Tachi that many bragged about with good disease resistance and resistant to nematodes. They were not in stock when I ordered them but they are now.

They are a little expensive but you do get 50 seeds. I would trade a few seed of Invincible for Tachi if anyone is interested in trading.

I used to grow Romas but they tended to get too much blossom end rot despite liming the soil. Still got a lot for tomato sauce.

Ranger does much better for me but they are expensive from Territorial seeds. Im trying others this year because I was annoyed at how much they charged for shipping when one envelope and one stamp would have done just fine.

My tomato sauce - wash them, cut into rough thirds, gently cook down a few hours on low simmer. Volume reduction about 50%. Let cool. Transfer to food processor, puree. Measure into freezer zip locks, one cup per bag. For pasta, let thaw, add 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp garlic, 1 tsp Italian herb. And some olive oil. Pizza sauce - same but also 1 tsp oregano.


I’ve been growing them for years too. I think I’ve tried almost every hybrid tomato with disease resistance and ‘that old timey flavor’ but always come back to Big Beef.

I have been using Big Mama from Burpees for sauce and sales to Mexican restaurants. This is a difficult tomato to grow. It has a funny, wispy foliage and any disruption in its calcium supply causes it to BER like crazy, but once you get used to it looking like some one sprayed it with 2,4-D and needing to apply alot of gypsum before you plant, it’ll produce a mountain of very sweet, great flavored, tomatoes. It’s quite firm and crack resistant too.

Striped Roman is spectacular as a producer, for flavor and eye candy, but you are in a much different location than my S.NY. Perhaps it has too much moisture and too many seeds to be a true sauce tomato although it certainly has the right shape.

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Yeah I explored a lot of tomatoes. I like Romeo, Cow’s Tit, Opalka - Some have reported problems with BER, but I didn’t see any. Romeo has never had BER.
Another one kinda secret is the Italian tomato Costoluto, and all of the numerous Costoluto types are good. Costoluto Genovese is the most common. Very bland fresh, but excellent as a sauce. Kinda of a pain as these are not paste tomatos. So lot’s of gel and seeds, but the flesh is super firm.
I also really like Polish Linguisa - late season. These came into production when the others were winding down.
San Marzano is probably the most famous Italian paste tomato. Wow, best sauce ever. My problem is here they so easily get BER I gave up on them. Here are links to photos I posted elsewhere.
Polish Linguisa


I don’t have any advise, I usually just grow Amish Paste and San Marzano, but I am trying my hand at grafting this year too. I am using Arnold rootstock. What are you using?


I hear you on the Big Beef…

I love heirloom tomatoes, brandywine, cherokee purple, man they are so good.

But here in my garden… I am lucky to get 10 good tomatoes off a brandywine. those 10 are excellent… but the production is just not there. Disease stricken much earlier too…

Big Beef do not taste hardly as good to me as Brandywine… but they are very good, and I get 6-10 times as much fruit (big whopper tomatoes too) of the Big Beef.

They are the ones I can count on for lots of great fresh eating and canning.

Below is a pic of one evenings pickings of Big Beef from my garden… Getting ready to can some there.



Thanks @TNHunter I may try the Big Beef in my raised bed as a “sauce volume accumulator” LOL :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@Bear_with_me I have had my issues with BER but when I added gypsum it seemed to go away. HOWEVER, I heard gypsum/calcium additions are just old BS as pertaining to BER prevention and that the true reality is that you just pick off the early BER and the following crop will be fine. Certain varieties seem to be hammered more than others.

@alan thanks for the input. I picked up striped roman from victory seeds, i am excited to try this one.

@Drew51 I will try costoluto next year for sure…or maybe this year if I can find them locally…which i doubt. Are you doing your tomatoes in containers as well? I know you are a big container gardener.

Here is my 2021 tomato list…

Mama Leone
Libbys Pride
Speckled/Striped Roman
Dwarf Melanie Ballet Tomato (for a container)
Gold Nugget Cherry (for a container)
King Humbert (Roi Umberto) Tomato
Antique Roman Tomato

As far as grafting is concerned… @FarmGirl-Z6A all of these except for the potted tomatoes are going on Estamino stock. I may really screw this up never having done it before…so I’m a bit nervous!

Thanks everyone, Ill let you know how it goes.


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It doesn’t seem like rocket science to me, I"m sure you’ll do fine. :slight_smile:

Yes, I am. I do both, some in ground too. I will be growing for fresh eating only this year. I have a bunch of projects going at my house and my cottage. Also some breeding projects that has my attention right now. So I have to limit my time in the garden this coming year. I will only be growing a cherry and a couple of black or dark tomatoes. My favorite type for fresh eating and my least favorite for sauce! . Indian Stripe and Black Seaman are two that do well for me.

@Drew51 what do you think is the minimum container size you are growing in? the last few years mine got incredibly root bound and I couldnt keep them moist enough. it is so hot here in the summer my potted plants struggle.


My current paste tomatoes include Amish Paste and Heidi. Heidi is an indeterminate, disease resistant, Roma-shaped tomato with good taste. The thing I like about Heidi is that they finish the season strong when most other tomatoes are struggling with blight and other end of season problems.

I agree with other opinions on Opalka (sweet and good, BER susceptible) and Costoluto Genovese (great umami, but flavor and production is inconsistent from year to year IME).


That’s why I switched to Burpee’s Brandy Boy and save its seeds. Much better productivity and similar flavor.

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If you really like Brandywine (Sudduth/Quisenberry strain), give Daniels a try. It is more productive, very similar flavor, and all around easier to grow.

For those of you having problems with BER, get some calcium spray. The problem with paste tomatoes is that the ground can be full of calcium, but the plant is not capable of translocating it into the fruit. Use the spray a week to 10 days before the first fruit ripen.

There are quite a few more really good paste/sauce tomatoes that have not been mentioned above. I’ll recap a few and name a few more that are worth a try.

San Marzano is the preferred Italian paste/sauce tomato. Unfortunately, it is very susceptible to foliage disease. I’ve grown it but never had a really good crop.

Heidi is my go-to tomato for paste and sauce. It is a compact determinant with decent disease tolerance and exceptionally good production. It needs excellent care as a seedling to give maximum performance in the garden. Never set out a Heidi that is more than 10 inches tall. This is one variety that very much needs to go through the juvenile growth phase in the ground, then transition to flowering and fruiting. Heidi is not generally susceptible to nematodes in my garden. You could give them a try sans grafting with high probability of getting a good crop. I grow 30 plants of Heidi whenever I want a large crop for sauce.

Costoluto Genovese is an outstanding tomato for production and disease tolerance. It is the most intensely flavored tomato I normally grow. If you make sauce from it, you will need some added sugar or else add a few sweeter tomatoes like Opalka to balance out the flavor.

Martino’s Roma is another that is really good for paste/sauce. It is not quite as reliable as Heidi, but otherwise comparable.

If you insist on a Roma hybrid, get LaRoma III. It is a reliable producer with decent disease tolerance including nematode tolerance. The nematode resistance is the standard type which breaks down as soil temperature increases above 90 degrees. Note that this is the same type resistance that most of the rootstock types have.

Bisignano #2 is an excellent sauce tomato that produces a very good crop in my garden.

Rio Grande is an older variety that needs to be mentioned for some specific climates. It is a good performer with less rainfall than the southeast.

You will often see “hanging” tomatoes recommended for paste/sauce. IME, it is better to use them for the purpose they are intended. Grappoli di Invierno, King Humbert, Principe Borghese, and Piennolo del Vesuvio are excellent for long term storage in a cool basement. They also tend to perform very well as dried tomatoes.


@Fusion_power Any thoughts on Striped Roman and Marzano Fire?

I really like Opalka, but have had a lot of BER troubles with it. I grafted some, thinking the better root system might help, but not much different. I’d try a calcium spray if there is a good one that isn’t too expensive, since it is a great tomato just for eating as well.

Last year I also grew a dark paste tomato from eastern Europe called Shokoladnaya Sosulka (chocolate Icicle). It was quite productive and had almost no BER. I liked them for fresh eating, but never got around to trying them for sauce.

I don’t make much sauce, just the occasional small batches, but I did really like Coeur de boeuf mixed with some better tasting hearts (Grightmire’s Pride and Kosovo). I think Coeur de boeuf is somewhat similar to the Costolutos, but more pear shaped. I’ll find out this year, since Costoluto Genevese is on my list with Coeur de boeuf.

I also grew a yellow determinate paste tomato from eastern Europe that was very productive and had a nice sweet taste. Unfortunately the BER was pretty bad, but I think I gave it too much nitrogen and since it was in a container in my hot area the soil defiintely varied a lot between dry and drenched from rain so I think it made it worse. I’m going to put a couple in the ground this year and try a yellow pasta sauce.

@Sean, if you want to send me a SASE I can send you a few seeds of the yellow paste and dark paste if you want to try something different.


Really wanna try the c. Genovese. Sounds like a great rich flavored tomato. @Fusion_power how bad are your nematodes?